The International Booker Prize 2022 shortlist is in



Awards season is here. And no, we’re not talking about the Oscars, the Golden Globes nor the BAFTAs. We’re talking about the ones that help to keep our screen time low: book awards, with the latest announcement being the International Booker Prize 2022 shortlist.

Where celebrating authors is concerned, it’s been a good couple of weeks. The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist shone a light on a stellar range of literature, championing debut and well-established writers alike. The British Book Awards shortlist, meanwhile, offered a similarly great collection of tomes to get stuck into, including crime novels and pageturners.

The International Booker Prize is slightly different. It offers a diverse line-up of fiction from across the globe. By its very nature, it provides the perfect way to discover a full range of different perspectives, cultures and characters.

The six shortlisted novels have been translated from six different languages, with a novel translated from Hindi featuring for the first time ever. Each book is an original piece of work, and as a group, they cover a lot of ground – from a genre-bending short stories collection to the heartbreaking tale of a boy subjected to relentless bullying.

And within the shortlist women writers reign supreme, with five out of the six titles being by female authors. It’s an exciting moment in international literature.

Readmore:

If you want to get stuck into a breathtaking range of fiction from around the world, we’re here to bring you the lowdown on each of the titles that have been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. Make sure you work your way through them before the winner is announced on 26 May.

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‘Cursed Bunny’ by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur, published by Honford Star

  • Language translated from: Korean

A collection of 10 short tales focusing on a range of human themes, from greed to power and money, all of which finish with a punchy message. The stories are said to be brimming with horror, terror, fantasy and elements of fairy tales. They also explore patriarchy and capitalism in today’s society. This is Chung’s first book to be translated into English.

‘A New Name: Septology VI-VII’ by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls, published Fitzcarraldo Editions

  • Language translated from: Norwegian

The third installation of Fosse’s Septology series, A New Name follows the same pattern as its predecessors: each section covers a day in the life of the narrator, Asle.

The book is said to resolve some of the confusing aspects of the previous titles (The Other Name: Septology I-II, £12.99, Waterstones.com, and I is Another: Septology: III-V, £12.99, Waterstones.com), which are considered essential reading before delving into this one.

‘Heaven’ by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd, published by Pan Macmillan

  • Language translated from: Japanese

Heralding from Japan, Kawakami brings us Heaven, a story that follows a 14-year-old protagonist who faces unrelenting torment and bullying until he is offered friendship from a fellow classmate.

when The Independent reviewed it the writer noted that reading it makes you “feel like there’s a beautiful, cruel teenage boy sitting on your chest, carelessly tossing his perfect hair while you are slowly suffocated by your own helplessness”. It’s a powerful novel that will stick with you long after you’ve put it down.

‘Elena Knows’ by Claudia Piñeiro, translated by Frances Riddle, published by Charco Press

  • Language translated from: English

This book follows 60-year-old Elena, whose daughter Rita has recently died. People attribute Rita’s passing her to suicide, but, her mother thinks she was murdered. Elena Knows is her story as she attempts to uncover the truth. What unravels is a range of secrets and the hidden nature of authoritarianism and hypocrisy in a Catholic society.

‘Tomb of Sand’ by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell, published by Tilted Axis Press

  • Language translated from: Hindi

Telling the story of an 80-year-old woman who slips into depression following the death of her husband, this book follows her as she goes on a road trip and finds a new lease of life. Shree examines borders, identity and what it means to be a woman.

This title is a particularly exciting addition to the line-up since Shree is the first Hindi writer to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

‘The Books of Jacob’ by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions

  • Language translated from: Polish

This epic historical novel took Tokarczuk seven years to write and its translated release was eagerly anticipated. Set in the mid-18th century, The Books of Jacob documents the rise and fall of a charismatic mystic leader named Jacob Frank and his group of followers. It delves into the vortex of religion and politics in Eastern Europe at the time. The story is said to be rich with detail.

Tokarczuk previously won the International Booker in 2018, so it’s no surprise that this book has been so well received.


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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